‘European breakfast cereal is ripe for disruption’: How challenger brand Crispy Fantasy hopes to ‘redefine breakfast’

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Can the 'Halo Top' of breakfast disrupt the cereal aisle? / Pic: Crispy Fantasy
Can the 'Halo Top' of breakfast disrupt the cereal aisle? / Pic: Crispy Fantasy

Related tags: Challenger brands, Cereal

Challenger cereal brand Crispy Fantasy hits all the right buzz words. It is high protein, plant based, clean label and gluten-free. But does it have what it takes to disrupt the European breakfast category? Founders Andrea Rodrik and Raphael Nahoum tell us more about why they think they have what it takes to ‘redefine breakfast’.

Having recently completed a ‘significant’ capital raise, European breakfast start-up Crispy Fantasy is preparing to launch its first products, delivering a line of ‘junk-free’ breakfasts with clean ingredients.

Co-founded by Andrea Rodrik and Raphael Nahoum, the brand prides itself on its ‘short list’ of ‘wholesome and natural ingredients’. These include agave syrup, unsweetened cocoa powder, soy and pea protein and avocado oil.

Attention has been paid to the nutritional detail of product formulations. Each box of Crispy Fantasy provides four times more protein and 50% less sugar per serving than the ‘leading’ cereals on the market, the group claims.

Indeed, Crispy Fantasy believes its approach puts it in prime position to disrupt the European breakfast cereal category and take market share from ‘incumbents’ that, the start-up founders say, have failed to bring innovation to the segment

“We believe the European breakfast cereal market is ripe for disruption especially as there haven't been any new products that cater to the needs of health-conscious consumers,”​ Rodrik and Nahoum told FoodNavigator.

The breakfast cereal market is forecast to grow by CAGR of 4.2% through to 2026, according to figures from Mordor Intelligence. However, Crispy Fantasy doesn’t see anything new coming to the shelf to bring excitement to the fixture.

“The industry has been untapped for decades and is clearly dominated by a few long-standing incumbents. From a nutrition perspective, the current leading brands in the cereal market are high in sugar and low in real healthy nutrients. Crispy Fantasy stands out with our first-to-market ‘junk-free, hassle-free’ brand proposition by using only clean, natural, and wholesome ingredients, including pea & soy protein, avocado oil, and unsweetened cacao powder. Our product also contains at least 50% less sugar compared to legacy brands on the market. Crispy Fantasy's gluten-free, high fibre, and plant-based attributes also make us a no-brainer for health-conscious consumers,”​ we were told.

‘Pioneering’ plant-based in the breakfast aisle

Crispy Fantasy is billed as a vegan cereal and, Rodrik and Nahoum explained, they expect to capitalise on growing demand for plant-based products beyond meat and dairy alternatives.

“The plant-based movement is gaining momentum across many food and beverage sectors, not only in alternative protein, but snacking, baked goods, confectionery, and breakfast as well... There has been a steady growth of vegetarians and plant-based eaters across Europe in recent years, and Crispy Fantasy is proud to pioneer this movement in the breakfast cereal aisle.”

When quizzed on whether being plant-based is really a stand-out feature in a segment characterised by grains, the founders were quick to point out that not all products that are free from meat and dairy are truly plant-based. “Many traditional cereal brands such as Cheerios are not plant-based due to their honey content, but, at Crispy Fantasy, we are able to crack the code by creating a vegan alternative that's equally delicious and nutritious.”

Rodrik and Nahoum were quick to stress that their proposition isn’t just designed to appeal to vegans and vegetarians.

The brand offers a ‘crunchy’ texture and ‘classic’ indulgent flavour profile, meaning that it has mass market appeal beyond those specifically seeking out a healthy option at breakfast. The company claims to remind people of their ‘favourite childhood snacks’ while also making space to ‘reimagine’ modern health experiences.

“With our plant-based attribute and classic, nostalgic flavours, we're able to satisfy literally everyone as a mass-market brand,”​ the co-founders suggested.

'The Halo Top of cereal'

The company is initially launching in the UK through Amazon and direct-to-consumer, with a wider European rollout down the line.

“We see the biggest growth opportunity for junk-free breakfast cereals [here]. The UK market is immense thanks to a big cereal/oatmeal eating habit. Over the past few years, we've also noticed the UK becoming way more receptive to new food trends than other European countries because the country is indeed a melting pot of different cultures,”​ we were told.

The cereal start-up has secured the backing of some well-known food entrepreneurs, including Halo Top co-founder and CEO Doug Bouton; MD of Litani Ventures - and the food innovator that sold RXBar to Kellogg’s – Peter Rahal; and US-based investment fund Pareto Holdings.

“We're extremely fortunate and honoured to be supported by amazing US entrepreneurs, including Doug Bouton from Halo Top and Peter Rahal who sold RXBar to Kellogg's - they both have incredible experience building and operating brands in Europe too. In the near future, Crispy Fantasy will also enter other European nations, including Germany, and we're so excited to ultimately build a global presence for our hassle-free, junk-free, and incredibly delicious product,”​ FoodNavigator was told.

“Crispy Fantasy already has accomplished the hardest thing: creating a mind-blowingly great product,”​ Bouton – who is partnering as both an investor and an adviser - commented. “I’ve tasted other ‘healthy’ cereals and Crispy Fantasy’s product blows all of them away; it’s truly the Halo Top of cereal.”

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